Today’s Prize is Up to Spec(Gram)! Donate to Win!

Dear LINGUIST List Readers,

Today we’re proud to offer a prize from the first, foremost, and possibly only publisher of satirical linguistics: Speculative Grammarian! If you donate before 11:59 p.m. today, you could be one of 5 lucky winners to walk away with a SpecGram prize package, which includes a copy of The Speculative Grammarian Essential Guide to Linguistics, as well as a SpecGram magnet or poster!

You can read the description for this must have volume at the URL below (and if you happen to pay money for a book you may win for free anyway while you’re there, I’m sure the good folks at SpecGram won’t complain):

http://specgram.com/SGEGL/

Remember, to win, you need to donate today!

http://linguistlist.org/donation/

And don’t forget, LINGUIST List also has many great premiums we’d love to send you if you donate $35 or more!

http://linguistlist.org/fund-drive/2014/premiums.php

Good luck!

The LINGUIST List Crew

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Featured Linguist: Joel Sherzer

Today we are continuing to update you on the most inspiring stories from scholars all over the world. Please welcome our Featured Linguist Joel Sherzer who is sharing his story with our readers and subscribers. Take a look below!

Joel Sherzer

How I Became a Linguist
by Joel Sherzer

My contribution to linguistics has been to analyze language in cultural and social contexts. I have used this approach to my study of the language and culture of the Kuna of Panama, the work I am best known for. Many students and scholars who have worked with Latin American indigenous languages and peoples have been influenced by my work.

It all started in Central High School in Philadelphia. Four years of high school Spanish kindled my interest in languages other than English and in grammar. Oberlin College was a decisive experience. I studied French, Spanish, Latin, and Russian, as well as a smattering of linguistics. In the summers I participated in Oberlin programs in France and Mexico. I also took part in a Princeton program in Paris where I sold books in the department store Au Printemps.

After I graduated Oberlin I had a Fulbright fellowship in Mexico that enabled me to study Nahuatl, one of many people who cut their linguistic teeth on this fascinating language. I became part of a group of fascinating anthropologists, linguists, and artists. They worked with Morris Swadesh on Mexican indigenous languages and cultures, including an effort to decipher Mayan hieroglyphs, and volunteered their expertise for the linguistics section of the then new museum of anthropology in Chapultepec park.

With a Woodrow Wilson fellowship I began graduate work in linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania in 1965. There I was fortunate to study and interact with a creative, dynamic, and pioneering group of people in various departments. The work of my Penn teachers has remained with me all of my scholarly life. Along with others, I frequently crossed the street between the anthropology and linguistic departments.
Henry Hoenigswald stressed areal and typological approaches to language change and history.
Dell Hymes trained me in ethnographic approaches to language.
David Sapir, like his father Edward, used texts to reveal grammatical and cultural patterning in his research in Africa.
Erving Goffman focused on structure and pattern in everyday interaction. Bill Labov elaborated fieldwork techniques and studied variation in language use.
My dissertation, which I rewrote as a book, dealt with areal-typological patterns in indigenous languages north of Mexico.

After grad school I was offered a position at the University of Texas in the Anthropology and Linguistics departments. I developed a program in linguistic anthropology, along with wonderful colleagues, Richard Bauman, Greg Urban, and Tony Woodbury. In my first year at Texas I edited Morris Swadesh’s book on the origin and diversification of language. This was a labor of love, as Swadesh had become a good friend before his untimely death. Another person I became close to over the years was William Bright, with whom I shared interests in areal-typological linguistics and verbal art.

While at Texas I began many years of fieldwork among the Kuna of Panama. My Kuna research involved close collaboration with individuals who do not read or write but who shared with me their remarkable linguistic and cultural knowledge, expressed in their conversations, stories, myths, chants, and songs. In addition, I have over the years become friends with and collaborated with many people who study various aspects of Kuna life.

My approach to Kuna language and culture led me to develop, along with colleagues Greg Urban and Tony Woodbury, what has come to be called the discourse centered approach to language and culture. We organized a series of conferences at Texas where people presented their work on different forms of discourse found in indigenous America. The tape recordings were transcribed and translated and stored in published form and/or in libraries. With the availability of the Internet, along with Christine Beier, Heidi Johnson, Lev Michael, and Tony Woodbury, I founded and now direct AILLA, The Archive of the Indigenous Languages of Latin America, whose purpose is to preserve indigenous languages by archiving them in digital form. AILLA has been very successful. Up to now over 250 languages have been archived, and AILLA will no doubt continue to grow.

Within linguistics and linguistic anthropology, two foci have come to characterize my work, speech play and verbal art. These foci have taken me to various places in the world, including Panama, Mexico, France, and Bali.

Joel Sherzer

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New Evidence for Neanderthal Language Announced

YPSILANTI, Michigan – The controversy over whether Neanderthals possessed a capacity for language may have been resolved. After years of speculation by evolutionary anthropologists and geneticists, a group of linguists has announced today that they have uncovered written evidence proving the Neanderthal capacity for language.

“Neanderthal man was able to express his ideas about the world around him, but was restricted by his limited syntax,” Professor Schmaltz explained at today’s press conference. “Whereas modern man combines words hierarchically into structure, the Neanderthal could only concatenate them linearly.”

It seems that Neanderthals had a single syllable oog, which, when repeated, formed different words. oog has been translated as ‘Oog’ a proper name, oog.oog meant ‘two people named Oog,’ oog.oog.oog meant ‘emotionally distant – like a teenager anxious to move out of his parents’ cave’ and so on.

Schmaltz’ team was able to identify and translate two texts left by Neanderthals. The first, a recent discovery in Spain, is a fragment of a teenager’s diary. It reads oog.oog.oog and has been translated as ‘[Dear diary, I feel] emotionally distant. [I wish I had my own cave]’.

‘[Dear diary, I feel] emotionally distant. [I wish I had my own cave]’

oog.oog.oog

 

The second text is either an exhaustive history of the region or simply the Neanderthal word for ‘antelope’, oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog…

 

oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog…

oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog.oog…

 

These findings suggest Neanderthals were just as culturally sophisticated as modern humans, but totally lacked an efficient method of communication. It has long been known that while Homo Sapiens’ culture developed rapidly, Neanderthals stagnated over thousands of years. Schmaltz hypothesizes that innovations simply would have taken too long to explain, as new words would have to be even longer chains of oog’s.

Schmaltz went on to speculate that the high-five traces its origins back to a borrowing from Proto-Neanderthal. “With each hand representing the name ‘Oog,’ slapping them together must have been used as a greeting. It truly was the original instant message.”

 

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LINGUIST: A Non-Profit Service for Linguists

Dear Subscribers,

I came from Shanghai, China and I am so happy that I have joined the LINGUIST team over the past six years. I really appreciate the LINGUIST List for giving me this job opportunity. Right now I can support my family, raise my kid, and learn a lot of new things from different projects.

As a full time programmer for LINGUIST, I have been involved in many different projects. This year I am mainly involved in two projects: LEGO and EasyReg. For the LEGO project, we have uploaded 31 lexicons and we will upload more lexicons and more than 3000 word lists into our system. Then the user can search all the data in these lexicons and word lists through our faceted search facility. The EasyReg facility was launched a few months ago. The EasyReg system will help conference organizer to set up online registration system easily and let registrants submit and pay registration fee online through their customized registration system.

Also I help to maintain the publisher, finance and EasyAbs web sites.

LINGUIST is non-profit organization. It provides free service for all linguist users in the world. Your donations – even a small amount – will mean a lot for us. Your contribution will help us to continually run another year to provide more service for linguist users and gave us the chance to work here.

Please help us to donate at:

https://linguistlist.org/donation/donate/donate1.cfm

Thanks again for your continued support and donations!

Yours sincerely,
Li (Lily) Zheng
LINGUIST Programmer

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Week 3 of Routledge’s Prize Giveaway! Donate Now!

Dear LINGUIST List Readers,

It’s a new week, which means we have another Routledge giveaway to announce! Anyone who donates this week is eligible to win either the title of their choice from Routledge’s Handbooks in Applied Linguistics series, or a one year subscription to their preferred Linguistics journal! For more details, please visit the link below:

http://www.routledge.com/u/FundDrive14

But remember, you’re only eligible to win if you donate!

http://linguistlist.org/donation/

Want to make sure you walk away with some swag? The donate $35 or more to receive the premium of your choice!

http://linguistlist.org/fund-drive/2014/premiums.php

As always, good luck!

The LINGUIST List Crew

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Making the Most of LINGUIST: Resources for Institutions, Conference Organizers, and Employers

As an active and esteemed member in your linguistics program or institution, you may wish to announce opportunities for enrollment and financial support for students, or you may wish to organize a conference. You may even wish to begin the hiring process to recruit a new faculty member. LINGUIST can help you save some time and effort in doing all of these things!

  • Programs and Institutions: If your school has not already been listed in our Institutions, registering in our Programs and Institutions area is an important step. People can align themselves to your institution, you can add degree and research programs relevant to linguistics, and people can name you as their host institution for their research and dissertations.
  • FYI: Submit your message here to announce a new program or a scholarship your school has to offer students.
  • Support: If you have fellowships or research assistantships available to support students through their degree, submit this information as a Support.

Is your organization or institution hosting a conference? LINGUIST has several services designed specifically with conference organization in mind.

  • Conferences: Announce your conference’s meeting description, call for papers, program and registration information.
  • Summer Schools: Announce your summer (or other time of the year) school session. No more confusion as to where summer schools (or specialized schools) should be classified.
  • EasyAbs: You can you this to organize your entire abstract submission and review process… for free!

If you’re looking for professional linguists for your Institution or Project, check out

Jobs: Submit a position to our concentrated readership of professional linguists. This announcement will remain active for 6 months, or until your position is filled.

Be sure to read our next letter in this series on special interest resources (such as social media, discussions, blogs, etc.)!

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Featured Linguist: Barbara Citko

During our Fund Drive, we have been traveling to different areas of the world and introducing you to featured linguists in those regions. So today our new Featured Linguist is Barbara Citko from the University of Washington. If you are eager to learn how Barbara became a linguist, please read her story below.

Barbara Citko

How I Became a Linguist
by Barbara Citko

How did I become a linguist? I think I took a road many linguists take, which is via a study of a foreign language. In my case it was good old English, which I started studying when I was seven. And, as they say, the rest is history. This is how I got interested in crosslinguistic variation, and the idea that there are well-defined limits to this variation. Well, maybe this came a bit later, although I have always liked to think of myself as a precocious linguist.

I grew up in Gdynia, Poland during what I consider to be one of the most interesting periods in Poland’s history. Gdynia, like Gdańsk, perhaps its better known neighbor, also had a big shipyard, and these shipyards were places where the Solidarity movement started. Both of my parents were members of Solidarity; my father worked in the Gdynia shipyard. This meant that strikes, martial law, curfews were very close to home, not something you heard about on the news or learnt about from history books. Maybe this experience didn’t help me become a linguist, but it certainly shaped me as a person.

I went to an English high school and majored in English philology as an undergraduate in college (first at the University of Poznań and then University of Gdańsk, both in Poland). It was in Poznań where I first got exposed to Chomskyan linguistics. I still remember my first syntax course, pouring through Radford’s textbook and being utterly fascinated by the beauty and simplicity of Subjacency Principle. I know, I am dating myself here.

I came to the States in 1994 and got a PhD in linguistics from Stony Brook University in 2000. My dissertation was on free relatives, and I have been interested in what we might call non-canonical wh-constructions: across-the-board wh-questions (What did Peter write and Bill review?), questions with coordinated wh-pronouns (What and where did John sing?), multiple wh-questions (Where did John sing what?) and various types of relative clauses ever since. In my research, I tend to focus on Polish, my native language, hoping to contribute to our understanding of the syntax of Slavic languages and, more generally, to our understanding of which aspects of language are universal and which ones are not and why this might be the case.

Over the years I have been influenced and inspired by so many great linguists, all of whom would be impossible to name here. But I do want to acknowledge my first syntax teachers, Przemysław Tajsner and Jacek Witkoś from the University of Poznań, and my undergraduate advisor from the University of Gdańsk, Piotr Ruszkewicz, and thank all the faculty from Stony Brook University, in particular, Richard Larson, my dissertation advisor, for making graduate school such a wonderful and memorable experience!

After graduating from Stony Brook I spent one year as a visiting assistant professor at the University of Utah, one year at the University of Connecticut and two years at Brandeis University, before joining the Linguistics Department at the University of Washington in 2005, which is where I have been since. It goes without saying that I would not even have known about these positions without the Linguist List, let alone have applied for them, let alone have gotten any of them. I also wouldn’t have known about countless conferences, books, journals; all the things that help us keep up with the field. In other words, without the Linguist List I wouldn’t be the linguist that I am today. Thank you, guys, for everything you’re doing!!!

Barbara Citko

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LINGUIST: A Stepping-Stone for Students

Dear LINGUIST LIST Subscribers,

My name is Danuta Allen and I am an undergraduate student of Linguistics at Eastern Michigan University. I have only begun working for the LINGUIST List, and I am truly grateful for being offered this experience. I am very excited to learn every day something new and valuable about the projects the LL Staff and Volunteers have been developing and maintaining here, that I would never otherwise learn about by merely taking my linguistics courses at EMU. I love my major and consider working for the LINGUIST List to be a wonderful and significant stepping-stone for my future career as a linguist. Without your financial support, students like me would not be given this amazing opportunity.

The LINGUIST List plays an important role for the linguistic community as it continues to support several graduate students through their higher education, allowing them to pursue a degree in linguistics. Without your donations, it would not be possible. Please, remember the long-term contributions the LINGUIST List makes to the field of linguistics through the training it offers to the students. The linguistic disciplines will someday benefit from the knowledge and experience students will offer as full-fledged professional linguists.

Please, consider donating to the LINGUIST List. Make it your opportunity to contribute to the field of linguistics by supporting future linguists like me in gaining such valuable professional experience. This is an opportunity that only becomes available once a year, so don’t miss it! You can donate via this link:

http://linguistlist.org/donation/donate/donate1.cfm

Sincerely,
Danuta Allen

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Featured Linguist: Irina Nevskaya

Today we are traveLING to Eastern Europe and Russia. So let’s welcome our new Featured Linguist Irina Nevskaya who comes from Mountainous Shoriya in the heart of southwest Siberia. Read below what led her to the path of linguistics and what research she is currently undertaking.

Irina Nevskaya

How I Became a Linguist
by Irina Nevskaya

I was born in 1958 in Mountainous Shoriya, named so after the Turkic indigenous people – the Shors. I learned that fact in the Museum of Natural History of the Region when I was a school-girl. However, I had never suspected that the Shors had still survived in these mountains until I started to work as a University teacher at the Chair of Foreign Languages of the Novokuzneck State Pedagogical Institute, today it is the Kuzbass State Pedagogical Academy, Russia. At that time, the head of the Chair was Ėlektron Čispijakov, a Shor person himself. He organized a Circle of the Shor language for young University teachers of the Chair, graduates of the Faculty of Foreign Languages of this University. He taught us Turcology and the Shor language in 1980-1986. There were no Shor textbooks, no Shor dictionary at that time. He wrote textbook and taught us using the written lessons. I learnt that the Shors still spoke their language which had survived in spite of the absence of any official support and persecutions. I also learnt that the language had had a written form, but could not preserve it. At that time, it was neither written, nor taught at school. I studied the language and the people and went on field work among the Shors during my summer vacations – by train, by bus, by boat, on foot, or by a helicopter which was and still is the only way to get to some Shor villages. The more I learnt about the Shor language and the people, the more I wanted to help the people to preserve (or even to revive) their language. I also got interested in Turkic languages and in their language structure, different from that of the Indo-European languages I had been familiar with until that time.

You might be interested in the question why teachers of foreign languages were engaged in language research on indigenous languages. You see, there were no chairs of indigenous languages of Siberia, where specialists in these languages could be trained at that time. Foreign language teachers were the only language specialists available in Siberia. And this is kind of a tradition in Siberia that foreign language teachers were the first linguists doing research on indigenous languages of Siberia, starting from Wilhelm Radloff, a German language teacher in Barnaul in the nineteenth century (who later became the first Russian Academician – Turcologist and is considered to be the father of Russian Turcology), followed in the middle of the twentieth century by Andrey Dulzon in Tomsk and his apprentices, one of which was Ėlektron Čispijakov.

As a student of the Department of Germanic Languages I was already interested in various linguistic issues. In my first year at the University, I chose to write a course paper to the topic “Language as a System of Systems”. A very ambitious topic for a first-year student! However, the work on the topic showed me that Language is a well-structured phenomenon, even if one might not see that at a first glance. I was actually very good at Mathematics and other Natural Sciences at school and even won various competitions of school children in Mathematics. But I chose to study Linguistics, partially following a family tradition – my mother was a teacher of Russian at school, an excellent one, by the way, and many of my relatives were, – and partially because I thought that Mathematics would be too easy to deal with for me. To try to understand language structures and how they reflect reality was much more exciting. I remember my being absorbed in thoughts on the functions of the Infinitive in English once to such degree, that I even did not answer when my fellow-students applied to me. They asked me what I was thinking about, and I honestly answered that I was thinking about the infinitive functions. You realize that that became a running gag when they spoke about me after that. Nevertheless, exactly the functions of gerunds in Shor became the topic of my Doctoral thesis I wrote in 1986-1989 at the Institute of Philology of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

It was already the time of “perestrojka” in the Soviet Union and that of the rise of national sentiments of all its nations which was not always peaceful. It was a very difficult, but also a fascinating time! Students and teachers were starving. In order to survive I had to do five different jobs at a time – from teaching at the University to translating cartoons for the local TV. However, I also wanted to help the Shor people to revive their language. Together with some colleagues of the Chair of Foreign Languages I organized Shor language courses, started a Shor electronic database and organized and headed the club of Shor young people named after a national epic hero Ölgüdek for a few years. One of the activities of the Club was publishing a Shor Youth Journal in the Shor language which was the first published book in Shor after a break of more than half a century. In 1988, the Chair of the Shor Language and Literature was created at my University; the language got its new orthography and became to be taught at the University and at schools in Shoriya, first by the graduates of the Shor language courses, and then by graduates of the Shor Department. An Association of the Shor people was created; the Shor language was included into the list of indigenous languages of Russia to be supported by the Government.

Because of the lack of financing we had to freeze the program of creating a Shor electronic database. I concentrated on the individual research and wrote my second Doctorate (called Habilitation in German) on spatial constructions in Shor and other Siberian Turkic languages. I applied for and got a Humboldt stipend in Germany. From that time, I have been in Germany teaching in Frankfurt and Berlin and participating in various projects, most of which I have conceptualized myself. They are mostly connected with Siberia in some way. In particular, we have resumed our project on Shor electronic database thanks to the support of German and Russian Foundations. Another project was on documenting Chalkan, another endangered South Siberian Turkic variety.

For the last ten years I have been documenting Old Turkic Runic inscriptions in Mountainous Altai doing field research in the Altai Mountains during my University vacations. Together with colleagues from the Republic Altai I have published a “Catalogue of Altai Runic inscriptions” (2012), and created a database of the collected materials on the Internet. Now I hold a replacement professorship in Turcology at the Frankfurt University and I am engaged in deciphering archive materials on Siberian Turkic, in documenting various Turkic varieties and Old Turkic inscriptions, in investigating various language categories (Prospective, Depictive, Clusivity, etc.) among other things. I am very happy that I have an opportunity to do what I really like. The only problem is that there is so much work to do and so little time to do all I would love to.

Irina Nevskaya

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Making the Most of LINGUIST: Resources for Professional Development

Once you’ve conducted research you’re especially proud of, you may wish to share it with the rest of the linguistics community. LINGUIST makes it easy to find a venue that is specific to your interests, and to submit your work for review! All of your published work can then be attributed to your name on our site.

To begin, you may wish to create a listing for yourself in our People Area. Here you can list your affiliations, degrees, areas of interest/research, and publications.

Once your People entry is submitted, explore the services below to help you develop as a professional.

LINGUIST also maintains a database of Publication information which contains the following features:

  • Journals: Look at our Journal listings to find an appropriate fit for your research. Also, many of the journals use LINGUIST to announce Calls for Papers.
  • After your information is published, you can announce it as an Academic Paper or as a Dissertation (PhD only).
  • Books: Have a book? Here is information on how to get your book announced.
  • Reviews: All books announced on our website can also be made available for review by the Reviews Team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. These reviews are often the first reviews to be distributed to the linguistics community.

Once you have built up your CV, it’s time to look for potential careers in linguistics! “How do I do that?” you may ask. Well, we’ve got an area for all your career-finding needs!

  • Jobs: This popular area is a great resource for finding a position in linguistics.

With over 350 active job announcements in our listing, we have one of the most comprehensive databases on linguistic jobs in the world. You can choose to either browse the list or search by such categories as subfield, rank, or location. Because we only keep active jobs in our browse and search area, all positions you find are open and relevant to the field.

Remember, these services are available to the linguistic community by your donations. To help us keep these services available in the future, remember to donate for our traveLING fund drive 2014.

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